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Wickes suffers as households put off projects due to poor weather

Wickes-owner Travis Perkins warned that record levels of rainfall had hit trade. The largest supplier of building materials in the UK said group revenues were ahead 4.4 per cent in the four months to the end of April, as growth in its general and specialist merchant divisions were offset by declines in plumbing and heating and retail.

The retail division, which includes 200 Wickes and 107 Tile Giant stores, saw like-for-like sales in the period drop 5.2 per cent.

The Northampton-based group said after a good first quarter, the wettest April since records began led to a weaker performance, while the weather continued to hit activity in May.

Geoff Cooper, Travis Perkins chief executive, said: 'We are pleased with the good progress in the first quarter, in particular the balance between continued share gains and our achievements on gross margins.'

The group earlier this year announced a £24million deal to buy the 70 per cent of the 100-store strong retailer ToolStation that it does not already own.

It said it was surprised that the Office of Fair Trading had raised concerns about the proposed acquisition because its agreement with the Bridgwater, Somerset-based business had created a robust competitor.

Shares were 4 per cent lower after today's update amid widespread selling on markets.

Nick Bubb, independent retail analyst, said the consumer arm had 'a tough time' but the core trade business had done well and was overall on track so far this year.

The integration of plumbing and heating business BSS, which was taken over in 20101 continues, Travis Perkins said, as it rolls out new branch trading systems.

Source: This is

15 May 2012
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